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Ukraine. Leonid Semyvolos saved the lives of over 950 Ukrainian civilians

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Leonid Semywolos comes from the Kiev region. He is a school bus driver. Last spring, he saved the lives of over 950 people. Heedless of Russian shelling, he evacuated civilians from Bucha, Irpen, Hostoml and Chernihiv. His story was told by the head of the office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak.

Yermak said that the story of Semywolos is the first in a series of stories of the inhabitants of the country who have remained anonymous until now, but more than a year ago they showed courage and, thanks to their attitude, contributed to the ousting of Russian troops from the northern part of the country. Ukraine. These reports “should be heard,” stressed the head of the president’s office on Telegram. He announced that similar testimonies would henceforth be published periodically under the slogan “Cities of Heroes”.


“The first evacuation took place on March 5 (last year). We, the bus drivers (from the town of Hrebionki), were told that people had to be rescued. Nobody refused. I will not lie, I was afraid. civilians) telephones, threw them into a plastic bag and shot the plastic bag with a machine gun. That was my first meeting with the invaders, “said Semywołos, quoted on Yermak’s Telegram profile.

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The missions from Bucza were the most memorable

The driver recalled that the evacuation missions from Bucza – a city in the Kiev region, which became a symbol of Russian crimes against the civilian population of Ukraine. According to Semywołos, the aggressor’s army behaved there towards him and the rescued people “in the most cruel way”.

Leonid SemyvolosAndriy Yermak/Telegram

“We were driving in a column and at that time a Russian tank, 30 meters from us, was firing towards a multi-storey apartment block. Brick and other remains from the building flew towards us. (…) The whole road is covered with rubble, iron. “You understand that you will (soon) get a puncture and you won’t get anywhere. And if you deviate a bit from the route, you will be surrounded by Russian soldiers and their armored personnel carriers. They are aiming their rifles at you. They captured an emergency service worker in front of our eyes.” semywolf.

Evacuation of children from the town of Siewiersk Reuters

Some civilians fled on foot

The man admitted that in some towns, for example in Hostoml, there were more people willing to evacuate than available places on coaches. Therefore, some civilians fled their homeland on foot, following the column of vehicles.

“But the most difficult thing was to transport people from Chernihiv. All roads were mined, which forced us to wade through fields and mud. I was afraid that there would be no rain, because we would not be able to pass. (…) 380 km in the wilderness, and there is no road in the city water, electricity, gas. We had almost no diesel on the way back. Thank you to the police – someone gave us a canister, someone gave us half a canister, but somehow (they helped) refuel us “- reported the driver.

Semywolos admitted that although among the civilians deported from Chernihiv there were bedridden and disabled people, including those in wheelchairs, this did not stop the enemy from firing at the evacuation columns.

“The Russians did not understand what a humanitarian convoy meant. The only possible crossing was through the bridge over the Desna River – already damaged at the time, but still passable. We just drove off the bridge and the Russians destroyed it. (As a consequence) one of the coaches was simply immobilized in the middle of the road. We separated the civilians traveling on it to the other vehicles, leaving no one behind,” recalled the driver.

Main photo source: Andriy Yermak/Telegram

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